Posts Tagged 'banking'

American 1: Everywhere you are, too

A fun video from Service 1 FCU up in Muskegon. The same principle applies to American 1, and most credit unions.

With services like online banking, online Bill Pay, A1 Access for your phone, and our giant network of no-surcharge ATMs, American 1 is pretty much everywhere you are.

Advertisements

The wild, wild west of the credit card world

PBS’s Frontline ran a special called “The Card Game” in November on how the credit card industry hurts customers with exhorbitant fees and interest rates.

Watch the second part, especially, to get an idea of what every day consumers face with rising costs.

Your e-statement questions answered

E-statements

UPDATE: E-statement subscribers – your tax documents should be posted to the system by now. Thanks!

Over the past few months, we’ve heard from lots of members about e-statements – the efficient, convenient way to check your statements. For some members, e-statements are a brand new idea, and some may feel nervous about checking your account activity on the Internet.

For some members, e-statements won’t make sense. We understand that, and respect each member’s personal preferences.

But we can try to help clear up any misgivings about how the process works, and how safe it is.

We’ve heard you. And we want to help.

“I DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER.”

For members who don’t own a computer, the idea of e-statements probably seems silly. Why check your statement on the web when you can’t access the web?

However, ask yourself: do you open your statement when it arrives in the mail?

If you honestly don’t, e-statements are a good way to clear out your real-life mailbox. It’s one less piece of clutter you don’t have to toss out or recycle. And since “reduce” comes before “recycle,” reducing your mail is a good way to help the environment.

But if you don’t have a computer and you really do check your American 1 statement each month, then by all means – continue to receive the regular paper statement.

“I’M WORRIED ABOUT SECURITY.”

American 1’s home banking system uses the same Internet encryption that large online retailers use.

To test it, visit american1fcu.org. Look up at the address bar. At the beginning of our web address, it will say “https://” and then our secure web address. The “s” at the end of “http” means our site is protected by high-grade online security.

But that only protects your information on our side. If you’re really worried about security, the worst that could happen is someone finds out about your online banking username or password. To prevent that kind of identity theft, keep a username and password combo that’s easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess, and keep that information safe and secure.

Thousands of account transactions are posted to American 1’s home banking site each week, with no breaches in security. Odds are, your account information will remain your account info.

“I DON’T TRUST E-MAILS SENDING MY ACCOUNT INFO.”

Rest assured, e-statements are not sent over e-mail. Rather, a reminder is sent to your e-mail each month letting you know your e-statement is ready for viewing.

To view e-statements, you must log on to American 1’s A1@home online banking site. Your e-statement is stored there, and is not sent via e-mail. We do this to keep a copy of your electronic statement secured on our end, not sitting in your e-mail inbox for anyone to see.

“MY KID’S/JOINT/SHARED ACCOUNT DOESN’T NEED E-STATEMENTS.”

If you manage someone else’s account at the credit union, share an account with family, or oversee your child’s Eagle Earners Club account, e-statements are the perfect way to cut down on mail clutter.

Or if you have an American 1 account to simply make your loan payment, you may not need a paper copy of your statement each month. E-statements are perfect for these kinds of pass-through accounts that you probably don’t need to manage on a month-to-month basis.

A FEW OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

  • Signing up for e-statements is a good way to store your statements as well, since we keep past copies of your e-statements archived on our system. E-statements are actually more secure than paper statements because they can’t be stolen out of your mailbox, missplaced, or accidentally wind up in the wrong hands.
  • Once you start receiving e-statements, you may not miss your old mailed statements. And it could be a gateway to more cost-effective banking options like online Bill Pay.
  • E-statements are a great way to see copies of your cleared checks. You can view them free with each monthly e-statement you receive.
  • If you’re away a lot on business, out of town at school, or if you move often, e-statements are a great way to ensure you receive your American 1 account information. Combined with online banking, it’s the perfect way to manage your account from anywhere.

If you’re unsure about how the system works, ask a Member Service Specialist at any branch to walk you through the setup. E-statements are easier than ever to access, and we’d love to show you how to do it.

Celebrating 100 years of credit unions in America

One hundred years of credit unions. How about that?

This year we celebrate a century of credit unions in the U.S. The movement began in Europe, in England and Germany in the 1800s, and then spread to Canada in 1901 and America in 1908. American 1 was founded in 1950 as part of the Jackson Co-Op (we were called Jackson Co-Op Federal Credit Union until 1987).

The anniversary is viewed not as a single hard date but encompasses a rolling series of events. For example, the first U.S. credit union, St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union, was organized in Manchester, N.H., in November 1908. A few months later, in April 1909, the first credit union law was passed, in Massachusetts. June will mark the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934, which established a federal framework for credit unions.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that were founded to provide an effective and viable alternative to for-profit financial institutions. They are member owned and run and built on a one member/one vote model. Currently, nearly 8,300 credit unions collectively serve more than 90 million members in the United States.

American 1 serves more than 42,000 members, and has branch locations in Jackson, Hillsdale, Calhoun, and Washtenaw counties.


Seattle newspaper: Credit unions put members first

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says there is one important lesson to be learned from the financial weirdness going on:

Despite the interrelated nature of the finance sector, credit unions are a safe and stable place to put our money. We ignore at our peril the lesson of the recent relative stability of credit unions…It is not just the fact that credit unions have better rates and didn’t indulge in precarious behavior. In credit unions [members], not investors, are sovereign.

Eric Bowman writes that the “financialization” of our economy – where money is made by moving funds around, not by producing anything of worth – is partly to blame for the housing, credit, and stock market mess. When banks strive for profit and not service, they make risky decisions.

Bowman argues that, by focusing on service, credit unions stay healthy for the long-haul.